Anniversary feast of fun flamenco

Members of Durban’s Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company.

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BY BILLY SUTER  

THE Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company celebrates its 35th anniversary with a new show, Vida Flamenco (Life of Flamenco), at Durban’s Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre from July 11 to 15.

Highlights from previous productions will be revisited, and the company is collaborating with the arts community in Durban and South Africa by including past musicians and singers who have performed with the troupe.

Former Linda Vargas Flamenco Dance Company members, who have subsequently established their own dance companies in Johannesburg and Cape Town, will also perform in the production. Among them are Flamenco del Sur and Teresa Morena Dance Company.

Seasoned and award-winning Durban dancer Kevin Ellis is also a special guest, along with Ramon Fernandez (son of Linda Vargas and flamenco guitarist Demi Fernandez) who is currently making a name for himself dancing in Spain,

With its high level of performance innovation, creativity and professionalism the company has built a loyal and extensive following of Spanish dance in South Africa, while developing a style and ethos that is unique to Durban, where all its performers have come from.

As the production looks back at its legacy it also finds a way to highlight the future and where the company is going with the inclusion of performances by Linda Vargas’s youth excellence project Siyanda Flamenco.

This project comes out of groundbreaking teaching developments from several schools in KwaZulu-Natal, under the umbrella of STAMP Dance, which promotes inclusion and intercultural creativity in schools.

Some of the cast of Vida Flamenco.

Another highlight is the reworking of the much-acclaimed 2004 piece,  Desert Flowers, featuring a special guest appearance by Durban’s Flatfoot Dance Company, which will bring together a range of contemporary dancers and musicians in a work that particularly locates Flamenco dancing and rhythm within the South African context.

“This bumper season explores the diverse range of the company’s repertoire both musically and stylistically,with compelling music by guitarist Demi Fernandez, Neil Gonsalves, Martin Sigamoney and Bryan Stone, who provide the musical soul that infuses the entire performance,” says a spokesman./

“I really cannot believe it has been 35 years since we first started performing in the university’s Lorca Festival at the Sneddon,” says Linda Vargas.

“We have done so much, and worked with so many amazing artists over the years, we wanted to somehow showcase this diversity in this celebration. We are so deeply grateful to all the performers and crew who are involved, and also to the Embajada de España / Embassy of Spain for their support in staging this historic event. ”

Performances of Vida Flamenco: The Linda Vargas 35th Anniversary Gala will be Wednesday to Saturday at 7pm with 2.30pm matinees on Saturday and Sunday.

Early-bird ticket prices are R150 before July 9 (R130 students / pensioners) or R180 if booked from July 10. Block booking discount are R130 each for 10 or more tickets. Seats in the last two rows for each performance cost R130 (booked before July 9) or R150 (if booked from July 10). Booking is at Computicket.


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